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19th Oct 2023

Player had year long Chelsea trial because ‘he kept turning up and nobody said anything’

Callum Boyle


‘Every session I was there. Then eventually, they signed me’

A former Premier League has admitted that he signed for Chelsea following a year-long trial, purely because nobody was saying anything when he turned up.

Leroy Lita, who has played for the likes of Bristol City, Swansea City, Reading, Barnsley, Reading and is currently at seventh-tier Nuneaton Borough spent several years at Chelsea’s academy during the start of his career.

After impressing for Margate, Lita caught the eye of the west London club while playing for their youth side.

Opening up about his time on the Under the Cosh podcast, he said: “I was playing for Margate and we were playing Tonbridge Angels. They were under 14s, but I was under 13 playing. And I scored three and set up three and there was a Chelsea scout there and a Charlton scout.

“When they’re allowed to talk to you straight after, they both come over and said we’d like to take a look, both of them said that. I’m a Chelsea fan so, I went to Chelsea and was there for a year. At Chelsea, as a trialist.”

Usually, a trial would last no more than one-two weeks, but for Lita, he kept turning up after hearing nothing from anyone.


“I just kept turning up. Just kept turning up. They didn’t say nothing to me,” he added.

“They didn’t say don’t come. I just kept turning up. Every session I was there. Then eventually, they signed me. There was schoolboy forms and I got all the way up to scholar and under 15s, under 16s, so year 10, year 11 at school.

“I was having two days off school a week to go in and train with the first team and reserves. I was thinking this is brilliant. They’d pick you up after school and take you to digs, at training you’d see all the first team stars and training with them. One of the days you’d train with everyone and then the rest you’d train with the youth team.”

Unfortunately though, the striker’s career at Stamford Bridge didn’t last much longer and Lita was told he wouldn’t be receiving a professional contract at Stamford Bridge.

He said: “I was thinking I’ve got a chance and then got to 16s, and just one Thursday after training, Ted Dale, the academy manager at the time, pulled me into the little office in the training ground and said ‘yeah, we’re not taking you on, the reason are you’re a bit too little’ blah, blah.

“Now looking back, Leon Knight and Carlton Cole were ahead of me. I was thinking, I’m too short? But one of my best attributes is in the air. And f***ing Leon Knight? He’s smaller than me!”

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